Barry McNamara  |   Published September 07, 2016

Making Doc proud

Grad school-bound Gulley ’17 benefits from chemistry research experiences
  • Grad school-bound Morgan Gulley ’17 benefits from chemistry research experiences.
Doc Kieft would be proud of Morgan Gulley.

A Monmouth College senior, Gulley will head to graduate school next year to study analytical chemistry. She is one of many to benefit from Kieft, the late Monmouth chemistry professor, whose endowment bequest to the College opens up a world of opportunities for Monmouth students.

“Morgan started doing research with me in the second semester of her freshman year and continued throughout that summer as a Doc Kieft Summer Research student,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry Audra Sostarecz.

A Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) that Morgan earned over the summer was “a result of her hard work and her initial participation in summer research through the Kieft endowment,” Sostarecz said.

Gulley’s summer was spent at Texas A&M University, and she said it stoked her ambition to study chemistry beyond Monmouth.

“I do really want to go to grad school now and pursue forensic chemistry,” Gulley said. “My REU was very informational. I learned a lot about organic chemistry, and I did work with nuclear magnetic resonancing, which is something we don’t have here on campus.”

Sostarecz said that chemistry students grow in numerous ways when they pursue work outside of the classroom.

“It is so important for science majors to see what is beyond the paper and textbooks and regular teaching labs,” she said. “Being involved in research has enabled Morgan to investigate a topic of her personal interest – the biocompatibility of titanium rods – in my lab. I have been very fortunate to have many great students in my research lab, and Morgan is definitely one of them.”

Gulley’s senior year will be spent researching the Langmuir monolayer with Sostarecz. She’s looking forward to working with a relatively new piece of equipment.

“With the atomic force microscope, I am trying to transfer a lipid and collagen onto an atomically flat surface of titanium to measure the liquid expanded/liquid condensed phases present,” Gulley said.

“Research, both here and at her REU this summer, as well as the opportunity to present at the National American Chemical Society meeting twice, have all been vital in helping Morgan choose her path after graduation,” Sostarecz said. “These outcomes are what Doc had in mind when he set up his endowment.”
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